I can't say we awoke refreshed and ready to go the next morning, but we stumbled down to breakfast at the hotel and then joined our group for a walking tour of the area.
We walked through Place Vendôme, which was constructed by Louis XIV, seeing the tower commemorating Napoleon's rule. The tower, and most buildings, have been cleaned within the past few years, erasing years of dirt and grime.
Our tour guide explained that Place Vendôme was originally erected as a large octagon of building facades. Louis XIV wanted the square to be uniform and symmetrical, so in the beginning not all of the facades actually had buildings behind them.
|Image borrowed from the Internet|
The white awnings visible in the top center of the picture are those for the Ritz Hotel. This is where Princess Diana left from a back door just before the tragic accident that ended her life.
From Place Vendôme we walked on to Palais Garnier, the opulent Paris opera built between 1861 and 1875. The building, which seats almost 2000 people, is still in use today.
After I put up this post I was cleaning out a closet where I had stacked a lot of art work that my dad inherited from his dad. I pulled out this painting... and voilà - I knew the building right away!
The painting is by Henri Renard. He painted many Paris scenes in the 40's - 70's and sold them to tourists. I guess my Grandfather was suckered into buying it! I'll be selling it. It's too dreary for me. I much prefer the fine weather we experienced while in Paris.
I was intrigued by this series of lamps in one of the opera gathering rooms. They were so futuristic looking. The detail above the head of each lamp was different, depicting different sources of power.
Later in the afternoon we visited the L'Orangerie and Musée D'Orsay and became immersed in art from "the" impressionists! How amazing to see so many pieces that I have only seen in books. The size, the colors, the texture made the paintings come to life. While there we stumbled upon a huge cut-away model of the Palais Garnier. The model puts the scale of the building in perspective. The grand staircase that I showed in one of the pictures above is visible in the lower right third of the picture of the model. The grand halls are on the very right side, cut off in this picture. Look at the size of the stage and the area for scenery backdrops! Wow! Not included in this picture is the entrance for carriages. Carriages of attendees of the upper echelon would be driven into the building so they could disembark with some privacy and out of the weather.